We arrived at the seder table already a bit tipsy, nursing the pre-dinner cocktails Josh had prepared with grapefruit juice and potato vodka. As I sipped my drink, I was grateful to be in New Haven where I could imbibe throughout the proceedings, not just at the designated times (i.e. when we blessed one of the four cups of wine). It was also nice to not have a rabbi break out a measuring stick when it came time to eat the matzah. I hate the aptly named "bread of affliction" and nibbled on a small corner instead of an entire machine made sheets. (One year at my cousins' there was a dog under the table. I fed him the majority of my apportioned matzah. I'm sure he didn't poop for days.)
The seder plate was basically as I remember it from last year- parsley, avocado pit, haroset, bitter herbs and a beet to replace the skank bone. On the second night, I placed a container of pink cotton candy in the center of the seder plate to represent the fluffy "gay," which complimented the orange nicely. Josh and Michael take that orange (and feminism) quite seriously, replacing all the male gendered pronouns with female ones throughout our reading of the Haggadah. And when it came time for the Four Sons, er, I mean Daughters, I was given the honor of reciting the part of the rebellious one. "Let's just call her Dvora," Michael said.
I began to read: "What is the meaning of this service to you? Saying you, she excludes herself because she wasn't counted anyway when the Israelites left Egypt. 600,000 men left but as for the women and children, the best we get is a guestimate from the rabbis a couple of thousand of years later. It is really unclear whether most of the women left Egypt at all. So why do we even have to celebrate this holiday?" I took a sip from my cocktail. Rebellious indeed.
The Four Questions were recited by Josh who has remained nineteen whereas I have aged a year to twenty-seven. He stood on a chair and shook his booty and shimmied his shoulders while the rest of the table accompanied him in song.
In addition to the revision of gender, there were sly jokes and commentary throughout. A section that began with, "A long time ago," was sung to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie." A short while later, we sang a song about the enemies of the Jews throughout history that have sought our destruction and ends with thanks to God for, "saving us from their hands."
"Not without a few casualties," I added.
The couple of mentions of a "fiery angel," as in, it was God and not a messenger angel who saved the Israelites, morphed into a "flaming angel" instead. Technically, the two words can be interchangeable but the connotation is quite different on the second. Personally, I would've have very much like to be rescued by a flaming angel. If we had been, we would've probably ended up with better food and clothing. Or at the very least, we probably would've avoided the whole matzah enterprise.
The recitation of Dayenu was abbreviated because Michael seemed to understand the true meaning of the song- enough already!
And it was. Once again, the seder ended with the meal and more cocktails on the couches. In a fit of giggles I told Josh and Michael that they should sell tickets to their seders because for the first time since I was ten, I actually enjoyed them again.
L'shanah Haba'ah B'New Haven (Next year in New Haven!)